La Grande Bellezza?

You may have heard that an Italian movie finally made it to the Oscars again, La grande bellezza directed by Paolo Sorrentino.
I don’t know why, but this has caused all sorts of polemics and pointless discussions about how unworthy of the Oscar the film is, how boring it is, and how it all was a political move (?)

I have just finished watching it and I liked it, and I can see why it has won (even if I haven’t watched any of the other contenders). The protagonist, journalist Jep Gambardella, is a fascinating, complex character, he is both cynical and quite sarcastic and very human and sensitive with people and events that deserve it. He is never mean just for the sake of it.
There are other characters that are a lot more than they may appear at first, and there are others, on the contrary, that are every bit as shallow as they look.
Some of the scenes are caustic, like the one at the Vatican when Sister Mary receives the homage paid by all sorts of religious people. That is really bordering on grotesque and quite funny. Or the cardinal that can explain the details of all sorts of recipes as solemnly as if he were celebrating mass, but flees at the merest hint of spiritual questions.
Some are dreamy, like the disappearing giraffe, or the flamingoes stopping on Jep’s balcony for a rest while migrating.

And then there’s the overwhelming presence of Rome, in all its beauty and decadence. Nothing can compare to taking a walk in Rome at night, when no one’s around and all the palaces, monuments and fountains are lit up. It doesn’t even seem real.

It’s a strange movie. I think it doesn’t have to be understood, it doesn’t have to be read, you just have to try and let it take you along with the story and then you’ll see its beauty, you’ll see that Jep’s life has come full circle: he probably started writing after being left by his then-girlfriend without understanding the reason, now the woman’s died and left a diary where she says she’s always loved him, all the time, but doesn’t explain why she left him, and this sparks Jep’s will to write a new novel, as so many people ask him to do. It’s not for everyone’s taste, but if you let it guide you, you’ll be part of a brilliant dance.

Girl Bitten By A Lizard

I have always thought that the famous painting by Caravaggio – Boy Bitten By A Lizard – was a bit over the top. I mean, a green lizard (the Italian title specifies “green lizard”) Biting? Do green lizards even bite?
Then the other day one of my cats caught a green lizard and I had an epiphany.

I saw he was looking intently at something in the garden, so I went out, saw the poor lizard and took the cat inside. Then I went out again to check on the silly reptile: I saw it was wounded and was not moving, so I wanted to have a closer look and I caught it. It bit me.
Green lizards do bite. It didn’t really hurt, but I was taken aback. And I thought of the many times I scoffed at the painting’s title

I think they want my soul

I work in a corporate, and I do not particularly like it.
The whole company was acquired by an even bigger group last year and now all the new policies and work groups have started to be rolled out.

Teams supposed to handle different subjects have been created, but I find the common gist of the whole business is to make all employees centred only on the company, to make them have friends only in here, to make them totally dependent, not only for their salary.

I find this totally wrong and perverted. I am paid to perform a series of tasks during my work hours, and I do, I do stay longer when necessary, I do my best when working. I think the company cannot ask me to come on a Saturday “to socialise” with colleagues, to go out for dinner “to show my pride in working here” and other such things.
Now they even want to make a virtual wall, where we are supposed to talk about ourselves, about our lives. Well, it’s none of your business!!

It’s creepy how they try to sneak into people’s heads so that they can have the perfect slaves, the slaves willing to be enslaved in a sort of Stockholm syndrome.

I may be paranoid, but this feeling doesn’t leave me. And I think they are not going to obtain the results they are hoping for, as I have overheard many colleagues complaining about this. Instead of making us all love the company, they are making everyone less and less interested.

Is this a trend only in my company, or is this the general approach? I know that maybe I should not complain, as I have a job and it’s quite a feat in this period, but if they want my soul in exchange, I think it’s not a good deal.

On going away

I have been willing to move out of my country for some time now. My freelance experience, which I loved, crashed against non-paying customers, my new job is drab, the general situation doesn’t leave much to be hoped. I think the time has come.

I put my CV online on several sites for people who speak more than one language.

I signed up at the EURES site, which requires you to complete a very thorough profile before you are allowed to make your CV public. And then what happens? If I do not not log into my account for more than a week, it doesn’t recognise the password! I am sure it is correct, as I have a place where I write them all down, but the silly site refuses it each time! It’s really frustrating.

As if I were not frustrated enough. I just want to get out of here, and I guess that, soon enough, I will just resign and get away. Yes, even if it’s not the right time to do it, even if it’s not the right age to do it. I don’t want to waste my life on menial tasks, leaving all the good things I know for later, when this later is not likely to come, unless I just throw everything upside down.

I am just fed up of working in the “unwanted jobs rescue office”.

OK, now my rant is over, I can go back to browsing employment sites. Wish me good luck

Something Wrong With Me?

cartoon kids in a row


I have entered that age when all your mates are married and having children, but I am still single, and I don’t think the situation will ever change. I have no problem with that, I like being alone and I am able to use the drill, should I need to hang a shelf.

My friends are of course happy and proud of their offspring, but are wise enough not to invite me to christenings and birthday parties, however I feel there must be something wrong with me.

I visit them from time to time and I get in touch with the babies, but I have to fake enthusiasm: to me, small children are all the same (even if not size-wise). I see my colleagues and acquaintances raving about newborn babies, and getting dreamy eyes, I see my friends really willing to hold them and not willing to let them go, I hear my girlfriends talking about the children they would like to have. I don’t feel like that, I don’t dislike them, but they leave me neutral.

The more girls I hear talking about children, the more I feel like something must be missing from my configuration. Where other women have motherly feelings, I must have something else; what? No idea.

I have never liked dolls, never liked to play “house” or anything like that. I liked microscopes, tearing things apart and then trying to put them back together, I liked Lego and roaming in the fields. I guess I was a bit of a tomboy, and I suppose I still must be. But is it really natural, or is peer pressure making all the gals go crazy for kids?

What I have noticed is that the more I see people posting links and status on their Facebook walls saying how much better they are because they are parents, the more irritable I become. I can appreciate they are happy, I just do not understand why they feel entitled to state they are better than other people, only because they managed to mate and produce a kid.

Of course, not all parents are like that, but the few that are make up for all the rest.

I had so much fun with these, they are so brilliantly done that I just wanted to spread the word. Enjoy!


Our Iconic TV series (which we’d like to thank everyone for visiting/commenting on etc.) left us with a feeling that we still have more to do with this idea and today we present what we actually did. Instead of TV series this time we coded a famous painter through three icons. We realize this might not be so exciting for people who are not into art history but for us this was challenging in a good way and satisfying.

The posters come in three installments, first one this week.

Highlight white text under each poster to read the answer.

Andy Warhol (1928–1987)

Johan Vermeer (1632–1675)

Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890)

Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825)

Piet Mondrian (1872–1944)

Frida Kahlo (1907–1954)

René Magritte (1898–1967)

Jackson Pollock (1912–1956)

And here is part two and part three.

(Also, humble thank you to WordPress for featuring us on Freshly Pressed and to everyone enjoying and…

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First: do not give anything for granted

While doing some research (i.e. browsing the internet), I came across this site, and I immediately thought of a lesson in computer science that talked about the importance of not assuming anything when you create an algorithm. I guess the good people at Shell forgot that…


The way I read

I don’t know about you, but I am a very curious reader. Reading to me is like being confronted with a large selection of appetizers: I grab one, then I want to taste another, mmm… that one over there looks good too. But then I tend to go back to the one that impresses me most.

I do the same with books: I read two or three (or maybe more) at once, they all lie sprawled beside my bed, and I grab the one I fancy at the moment. Right now I am starting “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?”, I am midway through “Heidegger And A Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates”, which is a partly comical, partly philosophical discussion of Life and Death, I am reading a book about photographic composition, and, finally, just to dip into at times, “The Bumper Book Of Useless Information”.

So maybe that’s why I begin so many books: some are just too “heavy”, or maybe “dense”, to read them all in one go. I have to sip at them and let the concepts sink. But when I find the real page-turner, then I become voracious, I can read 700 pages in a couple of days…

My brother used to read Clive Cussler’s novels. Sometimes I would find them lying around and I would start reading halfway through to the end, and then read the beginning. I know it’s a bit weird, but I only did that with those, I guess it didn’t really matter for the story.

I think a research should be made on this subject: how do people read? Are they methodic, and read each book from cover to cover, or are they dippers? Do they feel compelled to read each book to the end, even when they don’t like it, or do they think: “who cares?” and abandon it halfway? Do they read one book at a time, or do they begin several at the same time?

Accidentally IT

I started working in this company one and a half years ago, and after six months they decided to appoint me IT supervisor. “What? Me? The translation girl with a degree in Foreign Languages?”

Well, they really meant it, as I was the one in the office who had the best understanding of PCs, besides the old IT supervisor… I have a strange affinity with PC logics, so maybe it was not a bad choice. However I took a course in system administration, just to know what I was dealing with, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it, it was interesting and even fun, working with virtual machines and creating our own virtual network that we could play with. We turned the computer on, and a whole different world opened its doors for us, a world with several layers. Oh yes, I really liked being an administrator!

Then I went back to work and realized how, being in a corporate, my powers were very limited. Ouch! All the fun things were reserved for people in higher positions, but I could still tamper with single computers.

Then we had to change all the PCs in the plant and I had to set them up and physically install them in the old ones’ places, which involved running around the plant in safety gear carrying big cardboard boxes.

But most of my tasks were “software tasks” which can be dealt with from the office. Well, that’s IT, isn’t it? Another language in my portfolio.

Not exactly. I spent last week helping to change the switches placed around the plant, carrying even larger cardboard boxes, learning how to make network cables and how to test them, how to work with fiber optics without breaking it, and generally getting dirty.

That’s a side of IT that I never took into consideration. But it’s been quite fun (for a week).

I had always thought of IT as brainy guys sitting in a room with loads of screens, but it’s not always the case, it seems. Ha, the dire fate of stereotypes.